Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Mini-view: Hard to Handle (Love in the Balance #2) - Jessica Lemmon*

ONCE BURNED Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love...
TWICE AS TEMPTING Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Although the second in the series this is my first Jessica Lemmon novel, like many series though, Hard to Handle is perfectly enjoyable as a standalone book.
For me the strong point of this novel was Aiden. Recovering from life's hard knocks, Aiden is trying to make amends starting with winning back the love of his life, Sadie. Aiden comes across as the heartfelt and earnest character where Sadie is the aloof, 'once burned' heroine.

The relationship that builds slowly, both characters fighting their mutual attraction, Aiden and Sadie are an enjoyable couple all the more realistic for having the backstory that Lemmon gradually reveals. Aiden has all the characteristics of a bad boy but with the heart of that perfect hero. Sadie's family is more than a little complicated and the relationship that she has with them add a nice extra nuance to the novel and her development. The characters have a great chemistry and their gradual spark leads to some well written steamier scenes.

The only thing that I disliked about this book was the 'twist' in Sadie's character. Without ruining it for everyone I think that this is an overdone plot point and didn't work that well in the context of Lemmon's story. Other than that though I really enjoyed this more serious offering from Lemmon and would love to go back and start the series from the beginning.

*Advanced readers copy received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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